A new era in Marysville High School girls basketball began with a 2-0 start, including a buzzer-beating 64-62 win at Hilliard Davidson on Nov. 25.
Post player Mikayla Hughes' rebound basket as time expired gave the Monarchs an opening-night victory over last season's OCC-Central Division co-champions in coach Andrea Hackett's debut.
"I just wanted to get the shot off," said Hughes, a 5-foot-11 junior. "It was great. The team worked hard. It was a good win for us because other seasons we haven't won that many games."
Last year, the Monarchs finished 5-18 overall and eighth (0-14) in the OCC-Central. Dublin Coffman and Davidson shared the league title at 12-2.
Hackett replaced Aric Tucker, who stepped down in April following nine seasons.
Marysville outscored Davidson 28-17 in the fourth quarter, erasing a 45-36 deficit. Senior guard Meranda Wilson (5-7) scored 17 points and Hughes had 13.
"It just proves to show that if we do get down, we have to make some adjustments," Hackett said. "They're able to fight back. Every game this year, hopefully, we won't get down that much, but we'll continue to fight back."
Marysville also won at Bellefontaine 61-56 on Nov. 26 as senior point guard Elizabeth Williams (5-7) scored 23 points and Wilson scored 14.
The Monarchs play their home opener Tuesday, Dec. 3, against Hilliard Darby.
Marysville has 16 players, and Hackett said several will compete on varsity and junior varsity.
Also back is 6-0 junior post player Hannah Long, who averaged 6.6 points and 6.6 rebounds and was honorable mention all-league last season.
Other returning players are seniors Brooke Napolitano (5-5, guard), Hannah Staats (5-5, guard) and Sarah Wiseman (5-10, post player) and sophomore Taylor Eberhart (5-10, guard).
Other players are senior Andrea Davis (5-2, guard), sophomores Kayley Gordon (5-3, guard), Madie Shelley (5-3, guard) and Hanna Stevenson (5-9, post player) and freshmen Elise Freeland (5-5, guard), Maddux Hughes (5-10, post player), Aubree Lewis (5-7, guard) and Hunter Rivers (5-9, post player/guard).
"We're going to be more united, work hard and have fun as a team," Mikayla Hughes said.
Marysville lost four players from last year to graduation, including post player Katy Turner, who averaged team highs of 9.5 points and 6.8 rebounds and was special mention all-league.
Hackett, 29, graduated in 2003 from Springfield Catholic Central, where she was a three-sport athlete.
She graduated from Wittenberg University in 2007 and received her master's degree from Otterbein in 2010. At Otterbein, she was a women's basketball assistant coach the past three seasons.
"We're looking forward to a great season," Hackett said. "We talked about last season and what our goals were this year. We worked hard this preseason and over the summer. I came in and I have high expectations (from) coaching at the collegiate level before this and they have really stepped up."
Hackett teaches 12th-grade English at Marysville.
"Coach is doing great," Hughes said. "I really like her and the team likes her."
Boys basketball team has high hopes
The boys basketball team returns several players with varsity experience.
Marysville opens Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Darby and begins OCC-Central play Friday, Dec. 6, at home against Westland.
"We have a lot of kids back with some varsity experience," fourth-year coach Ryan Grose said. "Our expectations are pretty high. The way we competed down the stretch (last season) was pretty encouraging."
Last season, the Monarchs finished 7-16 overall and went 4-10 in the OCC-Central to place sixth behind champion Olentangy Liberty (13-1).
The top returnee is 6-2 senior guard Logan Roston, who averaged 12.2 points last season and was honorable mention all-league.
"We'll be a lot better this year," he said. "We've improved a lot in the offseason and I think it will be a really good season."
Junior post player Drew Mellen (6-6) and junior forward Case Chamblin (6-2) each averaged 3.5 rebounds last season.
Also back are seniors Alec Draughon (6-4, forward), Ryan Evans (6-4, post player) and Kyle Moulton (6-2, forward) and junior Desmond Johnson (5-11, guard).
"We have four senior leaders coming back and all of us have worked really hard at it," Roston said. "A lot of the younger kids are progressing really well. We definitely would like to be in the top half of the OCC and make a run in the (Division I district) tournament at the end of the season."
Other players are juniors Devin Cook (5-10, guard), Jordan Forry (5-10, guard) and Daylon Holland (5-10, guard) and sophomore Jevon Knox (5-11, guard).
"We have a lot of kids who have worked hard in the offseason," Grose said. "We feel really good that we have nine kids who can step in and play for us."
Grose expects Liberty, Coffman and Upper Arlington to be the top contenders in the OCC-Central.
"I would hope that we're going to be nipping at their tails to get into the top half of that league," he said. "Our goals for this year are to finish in the top half of the league, be an above .500 basketball team and try to earn a first-round home game (in the district tournament)."
Marysville lost five players from a year ago to graduation, including Steven Romesburg, who averaged team highs of 13.1 points and 3.6 rebounds and was special mention all-league and honorable mention all-district. Kody Davisson, another 2013 graduate, averaged 10.1 points and was second-team all-league.